Bloggers’ Challenge – Week 1 – It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

George Elliot

You’ve done your preseason tasks – including taken the before photos. You’ve taken a long hard look at yourself. And you’ve completed, at least, the first three days of Round 3 2012. It’s time to blog about the person who said yes to the 12wbt program, and the person you think you will be on the 18th November, 2012.
Remember, its up to you exactly how you respond to this challenge, including how many of the questions you answer. You might even come up with your own questions.

1. Describe yourself in less than fifty words. What is it you want us to know about you? (Of course if you need more than fifty words, consider using a picture 😉 )

2. This program is called a transformation. When you signed up for this round (whether is your ninth round, first round or somewhere in between) what was it about yourself you wanted to transform?

3. One of the phrases Michelle Bridges says that has struck a chord with me is that we should be striving to be the best version of ourselves. To me that means we don’t have to change ourselves completely in order to have a successful transformation. What is it about yourself you are happy with right now? It can be related to your mind, body or soul, and of course there may well be more than one thing you are happy with.

4. What aspect of this program do you think will present you with the toughest challenge. What are you going to focus on to ensure you feel successful at the end of the twelve weeks? How is your answer to number 3 going to help you overcome this challenge?

5. What is it you look forward to the most in the next twelve weeks?

6. You’ve now completed at least three days of the program. What has surprised you the most about how you’ve coped with any challenges so far in the twelve weeks?

7. Can you describe what you want to see, think and feel when you look in the mirror on Sunday 18th November 2012.

“Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.” Doris Mortman

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12wbt Blogging Challenge – Motivation

This is a tough topic – because essentially for over eight years it was a struggle to get motivated.  There are complicated reasons behind this – it has a lot to do with the chronic illness I was diagnosed with in 2003.  This illness saw me live through prolonged bouts of clinical depression.  There were days, weeks and even months when just getting motivated enough to get out of bed when there was nothing physically wrong with me (apart from the physical symptoms of depression) was impossible.  Eating well and getting exercise were almost impossible in that state of mind. And the really frustrating thing in hindsight is that eating well and exercising would have been two of the best things I could have done to overcome the depression.

As I have said in other places in this blog, after l stopped being a WW leader in 2006, I tried a lot of fad diets and gimmicks. Some which made following “Size 12 in 21 Days” for a whole twenty-one days seem sensible.  Any of those attempts at dieting could have seen me lose weight, but I rarely stuck at anything for more than a week and if I lasted more than two days I was bound to be cheating. It was as if I didn’t really care – but the whole time my heart was broken, and with each failed attempted I felt more hopeless.  That coupled with the clinical depression meant I just kept getting bigger, heavier and more unhealthy. My unhappiness and hatred of myself just made it all the more harder to get going and get motivated.

The turning point was my visit to Solar Springs with my mum for the weekend in 2011. I booked the weekend as a gift for her, to thank her for all the support she gives me with my children, especially before and after school. I just went along for the ride. But the weekend of healthy eating, some exercise and a little pampering had a big impact on me. Instead of all the negative feelings – I was feeling positive about myself. I did enjoy eating clean, healthy and natural food. I did enjoy exercise, and the endorphin rush that came with it, and just because I was 160kgs didn’t mean I couldn’t exercise. The trainers in the small group sessions emphasised working at your own ability and how you could replicate what we were doing at home. And, maybe most importantly, the pampering (hot stone massage, facial, hydrotherapy bath) made me realise I was worthy of being looked after – even by myself!

So my motivation sprang from there – from a very positive experience. Instead of feeling bad about myself and wishing I could wave a magic wand and start my life over, I began to feel good about myself. And I had a goal which was achievable and easily measurable.  When you go to have your spa treatments, you wear a bathrobe supplied by Solar Springs.  You are meant to slip it on and then wait in the lounge area for the therapist to come and collect you for your treatment.  Well, at 160kgs, the edges of the bathrobe were more than thirty centimetres too far apart for me to wear in a public area. So I went along to the treatments in my track suit pants and tshirt, not very glamorous at all.  So I decided when I returned in 2012 I was going to be able to fit into the bathrobe, and maybe be able to wear it in the lounge while waiting for my treatments. I had a positive goal to strive for – great motivation – as opposed to something negative about myself to run away from.

Then in August, after having shed five kilograms in three months, I decided to join 12wbt for Round 3 2011.  I figured if anyone can motivate me Michelle Bridges can. Hmmmmmm. Except she doesn’t believe we should rely on motivation to be successful. I was confused at first, I spent nine years as a WW leader motivating my members to want to lose weight.  Or did I?  The first nine weeks of following 12wbt principles saw me lose over 14kgs, and learn a lot more about weight loss, nutrition, exercise and motivation than those nine years of being a WW leader.

Since August my motivation comes from the thinking and action I take as part of the preseason tasks – the preseason tasks I do every round.  The preseason tasks I revisit when I need some “motivational magic”. My success on the 12wbt program – just over 45kgs in ten months – also helps keeps me motivated.

Last week ou task was to come up with an inspiration board.  I suffered badly with “paralysis by analysis” the whole week.  I kept procrastinating about what I should include, what colours should predominate, how many images I should have, how many quotes. And the really silly thing was that I was planning on making a digital inspiration board – so I could have very easily played around with all those aspects until I was happy.  But instead, at 5pm last Saturday, I got serious about putting something together.  A big lesson in how trying to be perfect never pays off.

So it’s not the best inspiration board ever – but I think it shows well what motivates me at this point in time.

I want to be fitter, stronger and healthier every week. I want to prove to myself that nothing I want is impossible. I want to stop beating myself because I make a mistake or if I am not perfect.  I want to be able to do a burpee successfully. I want to take at least half an hour off my 2011 City2Surf time in 2012, and fundraise for the Black Dog Institute in the process.  I want to learn to ride a bike. I want to ride a bike on Rottnest Island when Mr G and I visit there on our second honeymoon after the Perth Finale.  I want to enter a Triathlon, and finish the event. I want to enter the Gold Coast half marathon in 2013.  I want to enjoy summer with my family. And I want to wear a fabulous frock to the Perth Finale, which I haven’t had to buy from the Myer Plus Size department.

I want to be the best version of me.

And when that doesn’t motivate me at 5am when the alarm goes off,  I don’t lie in bed waiting to feel motivated. Instead I do what Mish tells me to do.

Really can’t wait for this round to start – but so glad this wasn’t week 1…..

Hi my name is Leonie and I have been a primary school teacher since 1988.  The first week of school always sees me exhausted and ready to fall asleep not much after 8pm.  This picture gives you an idea of how I felt at the end of each day this week.  And will go some way to explain why I haven’t updated this blog all week, and why I haven’t even tweeted.

My energy seemed to return yesterday afternoon.  And as I was driving home from work I thought – thank goodness that this isn’t week 1 of 12wbt – or I would have failed week 1 of 12wbt.

When I caught myself thinking that I thought no – what a negative mindset full of excuses.

So instead I thought about what I had done this last week that had been good, and, what can I do next time this happens to ensure the week is better.

Firstly, even though I was thinking I’m a failure, I realised that wasn’t exactly right.  I had kept up with the nutrition, stuck to 1200 calories and the only bit of non-clean eating was a cupcake from the batch my class made yesterday as a maths lesson.  I enjoyed it, I didn’t feel guilty and I allowed for the calories.

I had made the 6am pump class on Monday, 6am RPM + swim on Tuesday, c25K run on Tuesday and first yoga class on Wednesday.  I had planned to have Friday as a rest day, so really only missed one day of training – 6am pump on Thursday.  (Though I also had planned to go to evening Zumba on Tuesday, RPM + swim at 6am Wednesday and c25k on Thursday – but they are all over and above the beginners workout plan – so I knew there was no point beating myself up over not doing them.)

So, given those two set of facts about my training and eating it certainly wasn’t an epic fail by any means!

So what would I do differently if something threatened to interrupt my training and eating again?

1. Pack my bag for the gym (including work clothes for the next day) and prepare my food (breakfast and lunch) for the next day before dinner.  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday there was no hope of me getting to the gym by 5.55am becuase I hadn’t done these things before crashing asleep at 8pm.

2. If you don’t have time, or perceived energy for a planned workout – do something for ten minutes.  That is, JFDI and apply the 10 minute rule!  For example, when I felt so exhausted Wednesday morning and couldn’t face the gym, I know now I should have just walked on the treadmill at home for ten minutes or done the warm up and cool down of one of Mish’s videos.

And what did I do this week that helped that I should continue to do?

1. Plan my weeks meals in advance.  Shop, and order fruit and veg online, in advance so dinner is ready to cook each night – and I can give the recipe to Mr G and say go for it.

2. Accept compliments that I am looking better – and know that there is a bigger picture to think about, not just that a few days are a little hard.

So today?

First, hopefully meeting Michelle Bridges at a book signing.

Second, preseason tasks 5 and 6 to be completed.

Third, clean up kitchen and do a cook and freeze session.

Fourth, exercise DVD and c25k on treadmill at home. (SSS tomorrow)

I have to remember I am not going to succeed because I am being perfect.  I am going to succeed because I am consistent.

What are you going to do today to set yourself up for success?

Preseason Task 2 – No Excuses

So this is me thinking.

I’d like to say I am deep in thought doing preseason task two, considering my excuses and what I am going to do about them in the future, and how I am going to stay in control of my excuses.

Instead, the truth is that it is New Year’s Eve 2011 and I am thinking what half a cup of steamed rice will look like on my plate as I don’t have a measuring cup with me at the Thai restaurant.  So, if I put too much rice on my plate and consume too many calories my excuse is that I don’t have a measuring cup.  If that’s going to happen anyway, I may as well have as much as I want of the Pad Thai that my family will probably order.  Can you see where this is going?  One moment you are in control and ready to use the 600 calories for the treat meal wisely and feel good about yourself.  The next moment, you make one little excuse, and then before you know it, it has snowballed out of control, you’ve ordered the deep fried ice-cream and you’ve wound up feeling like a failure.

Excuses will do that to a person.  Excuses are best avoided.  If they rear their ugly heads you must be ready to tackle them head on.

How do I know this?  Well, not because of anything that happened at dinner that particular night.  I did manage to stay in control on 31/12/11, have my clear broth soup, stir fry with lots of vegies, approximately half a cup of rice and a taste of the Beef Massamum.

But I have run foul of my excuses last round.

This preseason task has been a tough one for me to face this round, as you might be able to tell since I’ve been working on it for over a week.  This is because I thought I really nailed it last round and got all the excuses under control.  It wasn’t until I started blogging again regularly after Christmas, and reflecting on my mindest, behaviour and choices from Round 3 2011,  that I realised I still have a lot of work to do on this preseason task – and I may still have work to do in future rounds.

It is the Internal Excuses that wrecked havoc with my mindset and my behaviour in the last six weeks of Round 3 2011.  And the thing is I have total control over those internal excuses.

As you may be aware I sprained my left ankle, not once, but twice in the space of ten days in October.  After the second time I decided to not exercise again (not even water workouts – which I enjoy – or working around the injury – both of which my doctor gave the go ahead for), until my doctor gave the all clear for weight bearing  exercise.  Big mistake. My excuse for making that decision was I am getting older (I was a 46 years young at that stage) and had a long  journey ahead of me – and I didn’t want to risk further injury.  What a cop out!  Of course what happened once I allowed myself to make that excuse was that I began procrastinating and making more excuses, which continued even after my doctor gave me the all clear to return to weight bearing exercise.

Once that happened for a couple of weeks the real rot set in.  And it only became clear to me last Sunday what had happened.  I cried a lot last Sunday as I reflected upon my behaviour and prepared to start this particular preseason task.

Once the excuses and procrastination snowballed out of control last round I began to speak harshly to myself.  Those harsh words follow two main themes of internal excuses – and when I wrote down my excuses last round, I only just scratched the surface of one of these excuses.

The first one, is that I am destined to be a failure at whatever I do.  I realise now that by saying that all I am putting into action is a doozy of an internal excuse.  It’s taking the easy way out.  If I give up because I believe I am going to fail anyway I don’t have to do the hard work. And who knows what might happen if I do the hard work?  I might just succeed.  I realised these feelings of failure come from the experience of living with the chronic illness I was diagnosed with in 2003.  And the really silly part is, despite how low I felt at my worst with this illness, I have already proven in other aspects of my life that I am not a failure. The bottom line is, as long as I never give up I have no right to call myself a failure.

The second underlying excuse is that I am not worthy of giving myself the care and attention I need.  In other words I am not worthy of being loved – by myself or others.  That’s what I was actually thinking towards the end of last round.  I realised last week this stems from the rejection I still feel following my birth mother giving my up for adoption at birth forty-six and half years ago.  Straight away you can see how this excuse has no grounds to be taken seriously by myself.  Forty-six and a half years ago, its time to move on princess! (And I say that with love.) My adoptive parents have shown me nothing but unconditional love my whole life.  I seriously believe Mr G is my soul mate, and I am grateful every day to have ever met him. I have Master G and Miss G in my life who are constantly telling me, and showing me how much they love me.  And the bottom line is I don’t need my parents, Mr G, Miss G or Master G to validate my worthiness of love. I am a human.  So therefore I am worthy of  love and respect.  So how can I continue with this excuse in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is not true.

Well, I have decided that these two excuses will no longer influence my decision making or have any power over me.  I have kicked them to the curb. Once and for all.

I am not a failure and I am worthy of love.  Because of these two undeniable truths I will strive to succeed in all aspects of the 12wbt Round 1 2012 and I will treat my body and mind with respect and love.

And if you are thinking – how is she going to do that?  It’s simple – I will JFDI.